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Welcome, to the world of nearly free hotel stays and airline flights! We’re excited to share the “secrets” of what we do with you!
My name is Summer Hull and I’ve written this website, Mommy Points, for the last 3.5 years. Don’t get scared off if you aren’t a “mommy”, or even a parent, as this site is for anyone who wants to travel a little more for a lot less.
In the world of late night infomercials with “free” Ginsu knives, Facebook scams, and Nigerian emails, the idea of getting airline flights and hotels almost for free sounds too good to be true, right? There must be a big catch, right? Well, my family is living proof that this is real, there’s no catch, and that lots of everyday families can and should leverage everyday opportunities for big travel rewards.
How does “nearly free” travel work?
These days so many companies are handing out airline miles, hotel points, credit card points, travel promotions, and “free” nights in order to try and get your business. We simply decided to take them up on their offers. We aren’t doing anything illegal, immoral, or under-handed, we are simply leveraging the things we do in our daily lives to earn nearly free travel opportunities.
For example, there are lots of rewards credit cards out there (some are better than others, and I’ll help you sort through that based on your travel goals), that will offer free hotel nights or lots of miles as a sign-up bonus. Just as examples, The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® awards 50,000 miles after your first purchase, the Hyatt Visa gives two free hotel nights at any Hyatt worldwide after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days, and my overall favorite card for most miles and points beginners, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card awards 40,000 Ultimate Reward points after $4,000 in spending in the first 90 days (plus an extra 5,000 if you add an authorized user to the card).
My family gets rewards credit cards and the associated sign-up bonuses, and then uses those cards for everyday purchases to earn even more points. We charge nearly everything including groceries, gas, car insurance, doctor’s appointments, cell phone bills, and even some Pre-K expenses. We also like to pay for as much as possible with cards that pay a category bonus such as using The Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card for 3x at US grocery stores (up to $6,000) and 2x on US gas stations + a 50% points bonus if you use the card 30 times or more in a calendar month.
We then pay off the credit cards each month to avoid interest and fees and rack up thousands of miles and points each month as a result. Some cards have no annual fee, some have an introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, and some do have an annual fee but the rewards you get can offset that fee (by a significant margin).
Rewards credit cards are just one part of the strategy. We also do almost all of our shopping online through portals that give you miles for purchases we were going to make anyway – including for things like dog food, toilet paper, paper towels, and shoes for my daughter’s ever growing feet. We are also ruthless about registering for promotions out there to earn bonus miles for eating out, on travel, and more.
Sound time consuming? That’s what I’m here for. I’ll keep you in the loop on the best promos and tactics so you don’t have to spend your time searching all around the internet for the best deals.
Won’t this ruin by credit and cause me to go into debt?
That’s the “fear” that keeps more people from taking advantage, but the reality is that my husband and I have been at this for years, and when we refinanced our house this year we were still in the very top credit rating in terms of interest rates. It’s true that your credit score will likely drop a couple of points when you apply for a new credit card because of the inquiry on your credit score. However, that impact is temporary (think six months), and your score may ultimately go up because of the increased available credit. As long as you continue to pay your bills on time and don’t rack up debt, this will not tank your credit score.
That said, if you have a big loan coming up, like a mortgage, then hold off on getting new credit cards and no matter what you do, go slowly. Even having just one good rewards earning credit card can be all it takes to get your family on the path to amazing vacations for much, much less.
How to get started!
The good news is that by coming here you are already well on your way to traveling much further for much less! I post new information nearly every day about simple strategies and opportunities to use miles, points, and travel deals to visit places near and far. You can come directly to the website, or simply sign-up for our free once-a-day email that will send the deals straight to your inbox without you having to lift a finger.
If you want an even simpler all-in-one package to learn and apply these strategies then download our free PDF ebook, Beginners Guide to Nearly Free Travel. Doing so will also keep you in the loop on our “Travel Nearly for Free” ebook series that just launched last month!
If you want some inspiration or information on places we have been using miles and points, then check out write-ups of some of our trips here. Almost all of them have been fully- or partially-funded by miles and points. We’ve been lucky enough to go to places near and far, including London, Paris, Hawaii, New York City, Tokyo, Alaska, Disney, Switzerland, and of course, Grandma’s House.
You really can fly around the country or around the world, sometimes even in a lie-flat seat, for a small fraction of what you think it costs. In fact, sometimes it can even be nearly free. Really. Keep reading and you’ll be taking off before you know it.
In the meantime, feel free to tweet me questions @Mommy_Points or ask away in the comments section!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.